Memorial Day is just around the corner, as it the anniversary of Kramer, my husband’s, passing. My goal has been to get his final resting place the way I want it.
It will be the second anniversary of his passing…yes, it’s really taken that long.
He died on June 2nd, 2019. We had the funeral on Wednesday after. By the time Sunday had rolled around I was ready to go to the cemetery. It was hard going the first time. I was super anxious about it as in the past, I’ve not been someone who feels any connection between my loved one and the cemetery. I wondered if I would.
I walked and took Ruby with me. The cemetery is only a few blocks from my house. Ruby was my beagle at the time and she was super close to Kramer. I figured Ruby was the perfect companion as she wouldn’t judge me no matter what I did at the cemetery.
I anticipated lots of different things at the cemetery. I imagined I’d cry. I imagined the numb feeling might come back. I imagined some else being at the cemetery and me feeling totally awkward. But what happened I didn’t imagine at all.
I came down the path, turned the corner and there was nothing. Nothing. There was no headstone. Even though I knew I didn’t order one, somehow I imagined one would be there. I imagined a pile of dirt. So often I had driven past a cemetery and seen a pile of dirt but there was none.
From the road, I could see no evidence that anyone had recently been buried. I was so upset. I knew I didn’t dream his illness, death, and funeral but I could see no proof. I think I had gone to the cemetery wanting proof it all happened. I know that sounds crazy but for me, the whole week of his death, the funeral and a few days later was one giant fog. I think a person’s body does that to protect them and get them through the shock of it all…but in the moment, I didn’t realize that.
All I could see was nothing. There was no headstone. There was no mound of dirt. WHERE WAS HE??
I started second-guessing myself. The cemetery wasn’t big. Of course, his resting place was where I thought it was. Seriously. It is not a huge cemetery. I started walking to where I thought it was. By now, I was crying. Ruby, my beagle, was just fine. She was sniffing and tugging on the leash which she normally didn’t do.
She pulled me to the spot where he was buried. I had to look twice. Our friend who digs the graves does it with a small excavator. He did an amazing job. I had to really look to see where skimmed the sod off, dug the grave, and then replaced it all.
Ruby didn’t look. She just found her way via her nose. She laid on the grave and rolled. It was so sad. She was missing him too.
I seriously had thought I was losing it until I could see that there had been a hole and that Ruby had found his grave.
I didn’t stay there long…I couldn’t. It was so weird as there was no stone.
I went home and my #1 priority was to get a headstone there. I couldn’t handle it with no headstone as I knew as time went on I knew that grass would grow over…I could not go through what I had just gone through. I needed a headstone as some sort of proof or evidence that he was really gone and that I hadn’t gone crazy.
To anyone who hasn’t gone through the death of someone really close to you, this probably sounds crazy, but stuff like this really does happen. I think a person is in such shock that seeing or imagining something else shocking, like you dreamed it all, can actually, almost seem real.
Kalissa stopped at the cemetery and she had an almost similar experience so when I said I wanted someone to go with me to pick out a headstone she quickly volunteered. In the end, three of us went.
In the meantime, Kalissa and both wanted something there so she bought a bunch of fake flowers.
We picked a stone at the end of June and were told it would be installed in the fall. I ended up calling in August and said we wanted it installed by Kramer’s birthday at the end of September. It ended up being installed in August.
I was so happy. I really liked how it had turned out. They had asked if we wanted flower stand holes put in on the sides of the bottom cement slab. I had said yes.
With it being August, it was too late to figure out the flowers. The next year Kalissa tried some flowers. She wanted something that clipped on the top of the headstone. She bought it and the next time we went, it was gone. We don’t know if it was the wind or someone stole it.
Then I decided to search for a plant holder. I went to the local nursery. She was out for the year already…I wrote a blog post to see if anyone had any advice. A sweet blog reader who I’ve met in person ended up sending me memorial money to get the plant stands. THANKS SO MUCH.
I ended up calling the nursery back and asked her to set some aside for me this spring.
Here they are. They didn’t come like this though…Karl and Craig had to cut them down to this size. Then Craig and I took them out to the cemetery and one hole was deeper than the other…so back home to cut it again.
Then check out the hole at the bottom. The stand is much thinner than the hole. It flopped around.
Friends of ours happened to be at the cemetery. We flagged them down and they came over. They suggested putting sand in the hole…and that’s what I did.
Here is how it looks…The owner of the nursery suggested this variety of geraniums as they are more drought resistant. I wanted live plants. Kramer hated anything fake.
Karl went with me and I made a return trip to clean off the stone. I think taking a bucket of soapy water is going to have to be a regular thing. His stone is loved by a lot of birds…and grass clippings.
I think it looks really classy. I love the red flowers with the black stone and white flower pots.
I finally feel really good about this. Kramer’s final resting place looks really nice.
Here’s how it looks from the road…
It’s hard to believe it was two years ago when I rounded the corner and was shocked that nothing was there…no mound of dirt…no nothing. It felt so much like a dream. It’s hard to look back and remember the feelings from that moment.
I am so thankful a stone is there and everything turned out looking so nice. More than that, I’m so thankful I’ve found a way to live with grief. It’s not something I’ll ever get past. It’s not something I’ll ever work through. Grief is something I can learn to live with. I’ve come so far from the moment I visited the cemetery the first time. I’m so proud of that.